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Kim Jong Un Highlights North Korea’s Progress at Annual Political Gathering

by Chloe Baker
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North Korea Political Meeting

At the commencement of a significant political conference to establish goals for the upcoming year, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un extolled the country’s accomplishments and advancements. These achievements, he noted, have bolstered national strength and elevated North Korea’s international standing, state media reported on Wednesday.

Analysts anticipate that North Korea will emphasize its advancements in weapons technology at this year’s end-of-year plenary session of the ruling Workers’ Party. This focus is likely due to the absence of notable economic successes, which have been hindered by ongoing international sanctions and economic struggles exacerbated by the pandemic.

Kim Jong Un, in his speech at the start of the meeting on Tuesday, described 2023 as a pivotal year marked by significant changes and progress, particularly in enhancing national power and the country’s reputation, as stated by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

KCNA reported notable progress in defense capabilities this year, highlighted by the launch of North Korea’s first military spy satellite in November and the development of other advanced weaponry.

North Korea also celebrated a successful harvest this year, attributed to the completion of new irrigation systems ahead of schedule and the achievement of key agricultural targets. Development in Pyongyang and other regions included the construction of modern streets, new housing, and various buildings.

South Korea’s Rural Development Administration recently estimated North Korea’s grain production at 4.8 million tons, a 6.9% increase from the previous year. Despite this improvement, the production still falls short of the required 5.5 million tons needed annually to feed North Korea’s 25 million people.

The Workers’ Party meeting, expected to span several days, will evaluate this year’s state projects and set forth objectives for the coming year. North Korea typically publishes the meeting’s outcomes, including Kim Jong Un’s concluding remarks, on January 1st, allowing him to forgo a New Year’s Day speech.

This meeting follows North Korea’s recent launch of its advanced Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, which was intended as a warning to the U.S. and South Korea against perceived hostilities.

On November 21, North Korea launched its first military spy satellite, although its effectiveness in providing valuable high-resolution imagery is doubted by external experts.

These launches, along with other weapons tests since last year, are part of Kim’s strategy to expand North Korea’s nuclear arsenal in response to perceived hostilities from the U.S. and its allies. Experts believe Kim aims to leverage a larger arsenal for greater concessions in future diplomacy.

Last Thursday, South Korean Defense Minister Shin Wonsik reported to lawmakers that North Korea is accelerating its weapons testing to compensate for the lack of significant economic and public welfare progress.

North Korea’s economy, already fragile, has been further impacted by pandemic-related restrictions, U.S.-led sanctions, and internal mismanagement. However, monitoring groups have not observed any signs of a humanitarian crisis or social unrest that could challenge Kim’s firm control domestically.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service informed lawmakers in August that North Korea’s economy has contracted annually from 2020 to 2022, with the gross domestic product last year being 12% lower than in 2016.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about North Korea Political Meeting

What were the main points of Kim Jong Un’s speech at the North Korean political meeting?

Kim Jong Un praised North Korea’s achievements in 2023, highlighting the nation’s strengthened power and international prestige. He emphasized advancements in defense capabilities, including the launch of a military spy satellite and development of sophisticated weapons. Additionally, he noted agricultural successes and urban development in Pyongyang and other areas.

What is the significance of the recent weapons tests by North Korea?

The recent weapons tests, including the launch of the Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile and a military spy satellite, are part of North Korea’s strategy to expand its nuclear arsenal. These developments are perceived as a response to hostilities from the U.S. and its allies, and Kim Jong Un aims to use this expanded arsenal for greater leverage in future diplomatic negotiations.

How has North Korea’s economy performed in recent years?

North Korea’s economy has faced significant challenges, contracting annually from 2020 to 2022. The gross domestic product in 2022 was reported to be 12% lower than in 2016. Factors contributing to this decline include pandemic-related restrictions, U.S.-led sanctions, and internal mismanagement. However, there have been no signs of a humanitarian crisis or social unrest that could threaten Kim Jong Un’s rule.

What are the implications of North Korea’s focus on military advancements?

North Korea’s focus on military advancements, particularly in the context of economic challenges, suggests a strategic prioritization of defense over economic development. This approach may have implications for regional security dynamics and future diplomatic engagements, especially in the context of the country’s relationship with the U.S. and South Korea.

More about North Korea Political Meeting

  • Korean Central News Agency
  • South Korea’s Rural Development Administration
  • United Nations Sanctions on North Korea
  • U.S. State Department on North Korea
  • North Korea’s Economic Analysis
  • Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) Overview
  • North Korea’s Agricultural Sector
  • South Korea’s National Intelligence Service Reports

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